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Young Merton Together

Five London boroughs join forces to commission innovative outcomes-based family support programme

Merton Council is part of the Pan-London Care Impact Partnership - with Tower Hamlets, Bexley, Newham and Sutton councils - which was formed to deliver Multi-Systemic and Functional Family Therapy services for councils within the partnership, levering in financial resources using a Social Impact Bond (SIB). The aim of the programme is to keep vulnerable families together and prevent children from being taken into care.

The partnership has commissioned Positive Families Partnership to deliver the infrastructure of the SIB and to deliver the services. A SIB is a way of financing a ‘Payment by Results’ contract, which means Positive Families Partnership will be paid only if it succeeds in meeting certain milestones related to keeping the young person with their family.

  • Positive Families Partnership is a new initiative designed to keep vulnerable families together and prevent children from being taken into care
  • It will provide over 350 at-risk families with evidence-based therapeutic intervention programmes with an established track record
  • This is the first programme of its type in London
  • A unique collaboration between the social sector, local government and social investors.

Positive Families Partnership utilises three specialist delivery partners, who collectively bring over 25 years’ experience of implementing evidence-based programmes across the UK: Family Psychology Mutual, Family Action UK, and the South West London & St George's Mental Health NHS Trust.

Positive Families Partnership will benefit from management support from Social Finance UK and Bridges Fund Management, with the latter also providing over £4.5m of funding to cover the up-front costs of the programme.

The therapeutic programmes are designed to help address the young person’s behavioural issues and improve how the family functions. These programmes – intensive, holistic interventions based on rigorous evidence – will work with young people involved in serious antisocial behaviour and/or substance misuse.

Referrals will be made by children’s social care and will be agreed at Panel meetings to ensure referrals meet the criteria for Multi-Systemic and Functional Family Therapy.

In its recent Inspection of Merton Council children’s services, (August 2017) Ofsted highlights the importance of being involved in the development of new approaches to family support:

“Senior managers are outward facing and regularly invite external peer reviews of their services. They are actively engaged with, or lead, regional groups and initiatives and are eager to learn about social work practice in other local authorities. This is exemplified in the leadership of the introduction of a Family Drug and Alcohol Court, and the active participation in an evolving social impact bond edge-of-care service, which will include multi-systemic and functional family therapies".

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